If you considering an outdoor kitchen for you paver patio then you may want to be sure to take into account all the options available. With so many elements that one can incorporate such as the Big Green Egg, grills, side burners, ice tray, refrigerator, pizza ovens and more, designing a BBQ island can be fun. Sadly the definition of “fun” in this case is limited to the amount you want to spend.
How to afford my dream BBQ Island
The fact is that the kitchen is only a part of your entire patio design and only a portion of your entire budget is going toward this kitchen. You may want to consider going the way of the “Master Plan”. Basically a Master Plan breaks your stone patio down to 2 to 4 key areas. Basically you focus on one key area this year (the patio) then wait a year or two and move to the next key area (outdoor kitchen) . This allows you to breakdown the budget to smaller, easier to afford chunks.
In order for this to work, the plan has to designed in full before beginning construction. Once you break ground you need to take the following into consideration:
- Location of key components
- Gas Line location (if not installing fire pit this year)
- Electrical lines including low voltage
Outdoor Kitchen Elements
So here is a brief overview of the available list of elements you can incorporate into your outdoor kitchen space. Some are no-brain’rs while other may require a bit of thought before any commitment is made.
Porcelain Cookers & Smokers
Here in the Midwest people when someone mentions a porcelain cooker its usually a Big Green Egg. Well that is not the only type. There are quite a few available in all sorts of colors to boot.
Kamado Joe and Primo are just a few alternatives to the Big Green Egg. I have yet to meet someone who owns one of these and is not happy with it. Some have even claimed to having ditched their grill, not 100% though. Based on all the rave reviews this is almost a must have.
When it comes to grill there is a number 1 here in Chicago and its Weber Grills. The number one grill for an outdoor kitchen from Weber would happen to be the Weber Summit. The wonderful part of the Weber Summit Grill is that it is available in 4 burner or 6 burner series.
Each of these units comes with a rotisserie and battery operated lights that point directly at the food. The fact that you can easily purchase parts for your Weber grill even years after your purchase is what I think sets them apart from the rest.
I recently completed a project for a customer who instead of getting a new grill decided to keep their 17 year old grill . He were so proud of how he was easily able to order new burners and plates for under $30. According to him it works just as good as when he initially bought it. Kudos to Weber.
Weber Summit 460
Weber Summit 660
When it comes to side burner you have to contemplate your cooking habits. Side burners are not for everyone. The size of the grill plays a roll. I only recommend them to those that have a need to saute onion or cook enough rice or beans for it to be a cost effective decision. Sometime the ethnicity of a family can play a role as to the need of a side burner.
If the grill is big enough I educate the client on using a ceramic tray for those meals. These bowls and tray that are designed for this type of heat are great. However if regulating heat is a problem then providing proper temps may be a problem.
Storage comes in a few different varieties. You can install sliding drawers or cabinets. Just be aware of the different styles as some come fully encased in stainless steel. Those are much cleaner as you never see the inside of the BBQ island. Storage for your ice is also available. I particularly like those trays for summertime parties. You can leave the lid off and stuff it full of ice and your favorite beverage.
Bull - Great Affordable Grill
RSC - Excellent middle of the road fridge
Refrigerator for the outdoor kitchen have come a very long way. I still remember back in the day when the only outdoor fridge available costed $1800. Many people will tend to shy away from including a refrigerator because one, they don’t see a value in having one outside and two, the price. I will be the first to tell you that there is a value in having condiments and cold beverages close by and on hand. The costs also have made them almost a requirement.
When researching one for your island make sure to put some effort into it. I have had the opportunity to install a $300 unit purchased from Home Depot with great success. I have one in my outdoor kitchen. Its going on its 4th year and still working like a charm.
This is another one that require extensive research as prices and quality can vary extremely. A countertop unit can run anywhere from $800 to $5000 for residential applications. That is just the unit that rests on top. You still need to have the base built out.
Those are just a few items you may want to consider when designing your outdoor kitchen. Remember, keep your creative mind as open (as your pocket book allows). Good luck in designing your spectacular outdoor kitchen for you, your family and friends to enjoy.
Hopefully you were able to learn from this brief overview of elements for you outdoor kitchen. Some are almost a requirement while other would be a dream to have. Good luck in design and creating the right outdoor space for you.